Choosing an Adjusting Table
By Steve Keller
Choosing the right chiropractic equipment for your office can be very confusing. What brands do I consider? What features do I need? Do certain options make sense? Should I buy new or used? The list can be endless.
An adjusting chiropractic table is the most important piece of equipment you will have in your office. It will be the main platform for the treatment of your patients. There are plenty of very good manufacturers of adjusting chiropractic tables on the market. Most make tables that fit a variety of techniques. Lloyd Table Company, Pivotal Health Solutions, Williams Healthcare, Hill Labs and Elite tables are a few of the major brands that currently make adjusting tables in a variety of models. So how do you choose what you need?
Step 1. Make a list of the features you want on the Chiropractic table.
A lot of this will be determined by the techniques you currently practice and would like to learn in the future. Some features to consider are:
- Hylo – this feature takes a patient from a standing position to a flat position.
- Elevation, which will electrically vary the height of the table in order to perform different techniques on the same table or enable to doctors of different heights to effectively use one table.
- Drops (manual or automatic) – a section of the table that can be cocked and dropped when a thrust is applied to aid or enhance the adjustment.
- Flexion/distraction (manual or automatic) for treatment of the low back. This feature allows the pelvic section of the table to flex downward and extend outward to aid or enhance the adjustment and to help stretch out the low back
- Chest breakaway—the chest piece breaks away in order to help facilitate the treatment of pregnant or obese patients.
One feature that I always suggest is the elevation feature. First, the cost of this feature is currently diminished because you can take advantage of the Section 44 handicapped access tax credit. This allows for a 50 percent tax credit to be taken off the purchase price of the table that includes this option. In many cases, this makes the final cost of the table less than the same table in a stationary format would cost. Second, the elevation feature also allows for much flexibility. It allows for one table to be used by a variety of doctors. For example, a 5’ 10” doctor can treat a patient followed by a 6’ 4” doctor treating another patient by simply raising the height of the table to adjust to differing height of the doctor. In addition, you can perform a drop technique at the proper height, normally a lower height, and then increase the height to a higher height to perform a low-force technique or soft-tissue work. Elevation may be added or purchased on a variety of adjusting table models. It can be included on a drop table, a low-force technique table, a flexion/distraction table and so on.
Step 2. Consider different tables depending on your budget, experience, recommendations.
A lot of this may be determined by your experience and suggestions from others—what tables you are used to using in clinic, the tables your teachers suggest, or the tables your associates like.
A major factor will also be budget. Adjusting tables will vary greatly in price—from a flat stationary table for under $500 to a Lloyd Ultimate table with virtually every possible feature available for more than $20,000.
Work on as many different tables as possible to find the features that best fit you. For example, drops will vary in speed and mechanics; some people will only want manual flexion and others will want the automatic feature.
The main thing to remember is that just because it works best for one doctor does not mean it will work best for you. Try not to purchase a table without working on it. Just because it has a look that you like does not mean it will operate in a manner that suits you. In addition, utilize the knowledge of the people you trust who have purchased and used the tables.
Step 3. Consider new versus used Chiropractic tables.
To buy a new or used Chiropractic table is probably the most asked question when shopping for a table. Again, this comes down to budget. If you are running a successful practice, have the funds or could use the tax write-offs, then new table is definitely the preference. If you are starting up a new practice, used is an option.
The problem when purchasing used table is you don’t ever really know how much time is left for practical use of the table. Tables have many different mechanical features, such as electric motors, hydraulics, mechanical mechanisms like drops. All of these things break and wear out, and they can be very expensive to fix, so many times the old adage “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is” often applies.
The best alternative when purchasing a used table is to purchase a refurbished table from a reputable dealer. A reputable dealer will purchase the used tables, strip them down and then rebuild them to your specifications; replace and update mechanics, electrical and hydraulics; and then paint, re-foam and recover in your desired materials. You will also receive some warranty on these tables. You can usually save 40 to 60 percent on a refurbished table over the purchase of a similar new table.
Choosing a Chiropractic Table Checklist
When choosing a table, follow a few easy guidelines:
- Make a list of techniques you want to use and features you want on your table.
- Work on as many different tables as possible and talk to doctors that practice similar techniques to get their opinions on likes and dislikes of tables and what features they deem important.
- Do not purchase a type of table that you have never worked on or the table that has not been recommended by an associate you trust.
- When buying a used table, be careful. Remember the old adage: “If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.”
- A refurbished table is a good alternative and can save you 40 to 60 percent over a similar new table.
- Buy from a reputable dealer.